Moving statues: from Ballinspittle to Budapest

Quare things have been known to happen in Ireland, especially on the long walk home from the pub after a feed of pints and extra vinegar on yer chips. The year 1985 will probably stand out as one of the strangest of all. In Ballinspittle, Co. Cork, a statue of Our Lady in a grotto, moved. And in moving drew crowds from around the country who came in their droves to witness the miracle. And she wasn’t the only one moving, or weeping, or bleeding. Over 30 cases were reported in the summer of 1985, all, interestingly, from Ireland. None from Northern Island.

Author Colm Tóbin, in an essay for RTÉ puts it down to 1980s Ireland – a time when people needed so desperately to believe in something.  I wonder if that time is coming around again.

Those of you with an interest in Our Lady, will know, of course, that she appeared in Knock, Co. Mayo, back in 1879, she appeared alongside St Joseph and St John. Crowds still flock there to pay pilgrimmage and I have memories of attending the annual Pilgrimmage of the Garda Siochana (the Irish police force) as a child. I was back once as an adult when my mate DW had a vision – but that’s another blog.

IMG_0927 (599x800)There have also been myriad stories of faces of Jesus and others appearing in stones, tree trunks, and even in hotel windows. One of the most credible I’ve seen has to be the Jesus tree in Malta. I’ve even had a shadow of my own, when I was in Bangalore back in 2008.

Bangalore Saturday 003

But back to moving statues… how many of you living here in Budapest have had Bajcsy Zsilinszky turn on his perch and follow you as you pass by? Now there’s a statue that really and truly moves!

3 replies
  1. ucronin
    ucronin says:

    Hi! I liked your piece a lot. There can’t be enough written about the moving statues craze in Ireland in the 80s. What the hell was going on?? As a kid at the time it all seemed perfectly normal but looking back – we must all have been suffering from mass hysteria.
    While I’m not in the same league as Mr. Tobín, I’ve just written a novel myself, “The Grotto”, based loosely on the events in Ballinspittle in ’85, but with a twist. “Moving statues gone bad” kinda thing!!
    If you’re interested, here’s the link:
    God Bless,
    U. Cronin

    • Mary
      Mary says:

      Best of luck with the book. I bet that ‘road-to-Damascus moment on the N69 between Listowel and Tarbert, Co. Kerry in the summer of 2011’ would make for interesting reading, too.


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  1. […] in Budapest who reads my blog commented that one entry was shorter than usual. It was the one about moving statues, since commented on by  U.Cronin, whose book is worth a read, by the way. Apparently, they’re […]

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